The rise of Asian violence – Soar Over Hate!

The rise in attacks on Asian Americans nationwide since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak terrified Michelle Tran, a Chinese and Vietnamese American medical student who lives in New York City.

The number of reported anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 395 percent in New York City alone in the first half of 2021 compared to the previous year.

“As an Asian American female, I’ve seen that we can be targeted for what we look like,” Tran said. “My friends started getting spit on and yelled slurs and being called, ‘Chinese Virus. I started to realize that many people don’t know where to get resources or don’t have the money to purchase a personal alarm,” she said.

In order to assist and defend the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations in New York and San Francisco, Tran co-founded the nonprofit organization Soar Over Hate.

More than 25,000 personal safety devices have been supplied by the nonprofit since March 2021. Priority was given to those who are most in need, including low-income Asian Americans, the elderly, and women.

Numerous members of the AAPI community line up to get a personal safety device at the nonprofit’s distribution events. Approximately 1,000 ladies queued in the chilly weather for over an hour to receive a handheld device for protection at an event held at the Yu and Me Books in NYC’s Chinatown.

“It was simultaneously heartbreaking, but also motivating to see so many people come out,” Tran said. “I think it highlighted the need and the fears that many folks, like me, are experiencing right now.”

Asian women and girls can take self-defense classes through Soar Over Hate. Just a few weeks after the murder of Christina Yuna Lee in Manhattan, the group organized a self-defense class. Women learn situational awareness and how to defuse or flee an attack in self-defense programs.

Soar also provides mental health therapy to address the trauma of Asian hate victims and their families, as well as need-based scholarships for AAPI youth.

With the ongoing need, Soar Over Hate hopes to expand to more cities around the US. As her work progresses, Tran says her only hope is to contribute to saving lives. ~ Michelle Alyssa Tran

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